We are just about to head into spring now but March and April can still be fickle – and there is always room for one more winter warmer.
So, here is an excellent suggestion for our shin of beef that pairs up with potatoes, spinach and leek and really delivers on the comfort food front.
The key to this dish is in creating a rich stock to braise the meat and deliver an intense gravy to serve alongside.
All takes a bit of time but it is well worth the wait.
1kg Hepburns Shin of Beef (boneless)
2tbs plain flour
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stick, diced
Half a garlic bulb
2 bay leaves
1 Star anise
Half bottle of red wine
250ml beef stock
1kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper, cut into chunks
50g unsalted butter
50ml double cream
500g spinach leaves, washed
1 leek, julienned
Salt and pepper, to season
Oil, for frying
Heat your oven to 140°C and place a large casserole on your hob over a high heat.
Dust the shin with the flour and add a splash of oil to the casserole before putting the meat in to brown all over.
Remove the meat and turn down the heat to medium and add the onion, carrot and celery. Sweat for 10 minutes until softened and then add the garlic, bay leaf and Star anise, and sweat off for another 2 minutes.
Add the red wine and stir to combine, making sure that any bits left at the bottom get scraped up. Then add the meat back to the casserole, along with the beef stock and just a touch of seasoning.
Cover with lid and place into the oven for 3 hours, until the shin is nice and tender.
Whist that is cooking, prepare the mash by covering the potatoes in a saucepan with water and a good amount of salt. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes until soft. Drain the potatoes but save some of the starchy water.
Put the potatoes back into the saucepan and mash, adding at first a couple of spoonfuls of the water and then add the butter and cream. Season to taste and put to one side.
When the beef is done, lift it out of the braising liquid and cover to keep warm. Strain the remaining liquid through a sieve into a saucepan, pushing down against all the vegetables and herbs to get all the flavour out.
Place the gravy onto the hob and reduce by half.
Before serving, quickly wilt the spinach in a pan and fry off the julienned leek in another pan until just cooked through. Warm up the mash if necessary.
Serve by spooning a good amount of mash into the centre of the plate and then add some of the spinach.
Place the soft beef on top, followed by the leek.
Finish with a good drizzle of the reduced gravy all over.